Book Review for “The Noble Fugitive” – Christian Historical Fiction Romance

What the books about: Heirs of Acadia Book 3- Serafina, daughter of a Venetian merchant prince, is desperate to be reunited with the dashing tutor her father banished. As her family sets sail for America, she secretly abandons ship. Alone in England, she finds herself as a lowly chambermaid. A world-weary ship captain is also forced to seek refuge, hiding from henchmen determined to silence his shocking revelations about the slave trade. The lives of these two characters become intertwined, and a place that once seemed only a dreaded detour becomes a sacred venue for the unveiling of God’s Providence.

My Review: This is book three of the Heirs of Acadia series. I really liked the very first book. It is written about a time in history that I always found interesting. Book two was still good, but in my opinion not as good as the first one. So when book three came around I waited. Then about two chapters in I was hooked. I thought it was the best so far. This one adds some new characters to the series and takes place mostly in America during slavery. The main characters are fighting to free those who have been in chains.  I am loving this series. Christian Historical Fiction at it’s best. I give it five stars.

 

Of With The Old And On With The New

Romans 12:2 (BSB) “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

Why doesn’t God want us conformed to the world and its ways, how come I can’t act and talk just like my unsaved friends and family? One reason is that we aren’t of the world, we don’t really belong to it anymore. We were bought by Jesus’ blood and what a precious price He paid for us. We are born again from Heaven, we should be different. Also, when we don’t allow the Word to transform, renew, clean up our minds, then we can’t rightly discern God’s will. Since His will is good, pleasing, and perfect wouldn’t we want to know what that is for our lives.

Ephesians 4:23-23 (ESV), “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

God made us brand new when we accepted His love and surrendered all our junk to Him and His forgiveness so why then does He tell me to “put off” and “put on”, because we live in a corrupt place. It tends to rub off on us. Our minds get dirty, our hearts get hard, and our vision gets cloudy. It all has to be washed away again. Just like our clothes get dirty when we work in the yard, we have to come in and take off the soiled and put on the clean, so it is with our hearts and minds.

If we didn’t change those clothes and maybe even take a shower, after a couple of days we’d stink. After a few more so would out houses and our cars. Before too long people wouldn’t want to be around us and we would withdraw into our own smelly world and refuse to come out. Who wants to live that way? I sure don’t. I want others to want to be around me. I want to be a pleasing aroma to God and to man. I want a clean heart, a clean mind, and clean hands. However, it’s not in my power to stay clean. It takes the Holy Spirit and a lot of the “washing of the word” to keep me that way. It takes being humble and admitting everything doesn’t smell like roses, admitting we let the mess get too big for us and we need some divine intervention.

His way is better!

I say off with the old and on with the new!

I John 3:1-3 (NIV), See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.”

 

Book Review for “Christmas Traditions” Boxed Set/Christian Romance

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Christmas Traditions is a boxed set of Christian romance novella’s. Each one is a stand alone book, or the first book in separate series, and by different authors. All were good, some I loved! As a whole I give the set four stars. I really enjoyed them. Great read for the holidays. I can recommend for teens and up, though written for adults. Where I could, I wrote individual reviews for each book.

Created to be Loved

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Do you or did you ever wonder why God created you? Why would He even bother? He was complete in Himself. He lacked nothing…

If we look at John 4:16 we can find our answer.

(King James Bible), “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”

Love isn’t an attribute of God, it isn’t one of His characteristics. He IS love. I know that’s hard to wrap our head around, but think with your heart for just a minute.

So, back to our question. “Why did God create me?” The answer is simple. Love needs an object of affection. Even though He was complete in Himself, that He didn’t need anything, or anyone, He wanted you! God wasn’t lonely…that’s just silly. But He did want someone to lavish His affection on.

How does that make you feel about Him? Do you trust Him more? Are you more confident in His plan in your life? Does it stop the voices that say He is angry or mad at you, that you don’t matter, that no one cares? What happens to your self-worth when you realize God is love and that He loves you, more than you could ever imagine.

The very same scripture the English Standard Version reads,

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” I John 4:7-12 (emphasis mine)

The main way that His love is manifested, obvious to us, is in the fact that He gave His own Son to erase and eradicate our sin, and our sinful nature. It is the Holiday season as I write this and Thanksgiving is just around the corner, with Christmas coming up soon. I am planning my tree and figuring out how I am going to decorate it. I want my home to feel warm and inviting, to show my loved one’s how much I love them. Also, this time of year I can’t help but think about how much my Heavenly Father loves me. Jesus not only won the tree contest, hanging Himself there as a public display of His love, He won the battle with our enemy! Now the only fight we have to face is the fight of faith, staying strong and secure in His love.

His own shed blood is proof enough of His love, but there is more! He has planned out a whole life for us that is showered in His love. When we step off that path, we remove ourselves from His perfect plan. Even when we do that, once we realize our error, He turns all our bad ideas, wrong choices, and unplanned mishaps, around for our good.

His love isn’t fickle, it doesn’t waver, because His love isn’t an emotion or a feeling. It is who He is! His love is never ending, and never selfish. His love is always free and never has strings attached. He loves Adolf Hitler as much as He loves you. He loves that drug dealer as much as that homeless teen who sells her body for food, and He loves me as much as Mother Theresa. How can that be? Because it is unconditional! No conditions, no strings, there is nothing you could ever do that would change His love for you, not even murder or forsaking Him. Think of the Israelites, who lived under the law, they rebelled and turned away from Him, even choosing to serve false gods. Yet, if you read through the Old Testament, it is full of His love. Was He frustrated, angry, and disappointed in them? You bet, mostly I think He was saddened. Under Grace, which Jesus brought to us, God doesn’t get angry at us, ever. He only sees the final outcome. He sees us covered by His blood. He sees us loved and accepted into the beloved. He sees us as His dear children, if we accept that love.

Every person created was created as an object of His affection, but every person created isn’t His child. Only those who choose to accept that love and everything it entails, those who choose to be led by His Spirit. Those He calls His.

Romans 8:14 (NIV), “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.”

He loves you!

You were created to be loved by Him!

Book Review for “Draw of Kings”- Christian Fantasy

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Final book of the series, sad to see it end. I loved the set and this one was the best of all. Great writing, it sucks you into the story. The characters were great and the whole plot rocked your emotions one way or another. Humor, sorrow, hope, and just about every other one you can imagine. Well done! A new favorite author to add to the list. I give it five stars. I also recommend to anyone who loves fantasy or Christian fiction. Great for teens and up. No sexual content or swearing, lot’s of fighting and violence.

The Sin Scale

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We all have one, a “sin scale”, where we weigh those bad things we do. Or worse yet, we use it to excuse our bad behavior or habits by saying to ourselves, “my white lie I told my boss is only a two, my co-worker’s adultery is a seven…at least my sin is not as bad as his.” A lot of us, who claim to be Christians, love to point out the sin of homosexuality, armed robbery, murder, child abuse, and so on, and if there really was a scale, we would all agree that those probably are off the chart. However, there is no such thing as a “sin scale.”

To God, sin is sin. There isn’t some worse than others, and even more importantly, sin really isn’t an action or lack of one, it’s a nature! Those horrible, or less-than-righteous things we do aren’t in themselves the sin, they are a symptom or a corresponding action to our sin nature. We are all born with one, due to the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden. But, praise God, when we surrender our hearts to Him, he gives us His nature. His nature isn’t sin! We are then the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. We aren’t as good as God, but we are as right as Him. Not from anything we did, or can do, but because of what Jesus did. Because we aren’t as good as God, we aren’t perfect, we continue to mess up, and miss the mark.

Matthew 19:7 (KJB), “And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

Thankfully, since Jesus died for our sins, we just confess and turn back to God. Soon we sin less and less. Our sin doesn’t make us “sinners” because we don’t get our old nature back; we still maintain our rightness with God as long as we humble ourselves and repent.

So instead of trying to excuse, or weigh our bad behavior, instead we should be trying to please God. We need to have faith in Him, be confident that He is doing a work in us, that we are being changed from the inside out. God had told us that without faith it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6). We need to hear Him, believe in His great power, stand firm on His word.

Let’s take a look at what Jesus said to His disciples as He sent them out:

Matthew 10:11-15 (NIV) “And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city. As you enter the house, give it your greeting. If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace. Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.”

He said, “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words…it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment.” If you still have that sin scale on your mind, this should wipe it away. Not heeding, not hearing His “Good News” is worse than the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah…

Shall we continue?

Matthew 11:23-24 (NIV), “And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.”

Jesus came to point the way to the Father, He showed God’s love and mercy, forgiveness and kindness. Had those miracles been shown in Sodom, He says that it never would have been destroyed, inferring that they would have believed and repented!

Sin is sin. We can’t categorize it, weigh it, label it, or whitewash it. The only remedy for sin is surrender. Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God and He will lift you up (James 4:10). He doesn’t cover it, as the blood of sacrifices did under the old covenant, He takes it away, and then even better, He forgets about it!

How many times have I stood at the altar (figuratively or literally) and thought to myself, “at least I am not like so-and-so” or “at least I have never done that”? Sound familiar?

Luke 18:9-14 (ESV), “He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

How dare we stand like that Pharisee and think that somehow we are better because we placed our sin on the sin scale of our own making, and declared ourselves more righteous. As the body of Christ, we pray for souls, or should be, so we need to ask God to forgive us for expecting those souls to be rich, well dressed, un-broken, and good. Those very people we have looked down our noses at, those are the ones that our loving Father wants us to reach out to with His love. Separating ourselves from those who live in the world, can’t get us saved any more than hanging out with them will get us unsaved.

When they accused Jesus of wrongdoing when they found him eating and fellowshipping with sinners, His response was, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:7)

We don’t do what they do, we don’t participate in their wrong behavior, but we show them a better way. Hate doesn’t lead to repentance, judgmental attitudes won’t, God’s goodness will.

I think I will close with this scripture:

Luke 6: 35-35 (NASB), “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return

The Truth Is (My) Relative

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We have all heard the saying “truth is relative”, meaning that it depends on the circumstance, or the person, or some other outside influence. When Pontius Pilot is having a conversation with Jesus before the crucifixion he voices the same belief after Jesus tells him that “I came to testify of the truth”.

John 18:38 (NIV), “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.”

That common philosophy of Pilot’s day is still common in our day. So many people talk about the “grey areas” or that “there is no black and white, just different shades of grey.” I disagree.

Jesus made it very clear. There is TRUTH and it is HIM.

John 14:6 (NIV), “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” 

Instead of saying, “truth is relative” he said, “TRUTH is my relative”. I love that. I am one with Christ, a joint heir, a son of God, and Jesus is the way, the truth and the light, so I am related to Him.

God’s word is true, He is not a man that He should lie, and Jesus is the Living Word.

His word is alive! And it is True!

Truth isn’t relative, but He is my Relative.

Be blessed.